Canelo Alvarez, Liam Smith successfully make weight for Saturday’s bout

Canelo Alverez (L) and Liam Smith (R) square up during a press conference to promote their fight

Canelo Alvarez, left, and Liam Smith both made weight Friday for their fight Saturday in Arlington, Texas/Photo by Getty Images

 

Junior middleweight champion Liam Smith of England and challenger Canelo Alvarez of Mexico successfully made weight Friday for their showdown Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view, $54.99, $64.99 HD).

Smith and Alvarez both tipped the scales at the limit of 154 pounds.

Smith, 28, is 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts. This will be his third defense. Alvarez, 26, is 47-1-1 with 33 knockouts. Alvarez has held titles at this weight and at middleweight.

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Promoter Frank Warren says Americans will become fans of Liam Smith

Canelo Alvarez, left, and Liam Smith pose after Thursday’s final news conference/Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

Promoter Frank Warren is pumped up about his fighter, Liam Smith, getting a chance to defend his title Saturday against Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) of Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) has never fought in the States, so he’s unknown to most here. Warren promised this week American fans will jump on Smith’s bandwagon once they’ve seen him fight.

“You guys are going to be great fans of him,” Warren said. “He is coming in as a lion, an undefeated fighter on an eight-fight knock out streak.”

That’s all well and good. But the eight consecutive knockouts haven’t exactly come against top-notch competition. Check out Smith’s ring record and judge for yourself.

 

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Liam Smith sees fight with Canelo Alvarez as chance to ‘go up the ladder’

Canelo Alvarez, left, and Liam Smith pose after Thursday’s final news conference/Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

Liam Smith is a junior middleweight world champion, which means he has – to a degree – reached the promised land in boxing. The thing is he hasn’t beaten any real outstanding fighters, so he is not yet a star. He would be if he were to successfully defend his title Saturday against Canelo Alvarez of Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“Canelo is an elite fighter, and this is my chance to go up the ladder,” Smith said at Thursday’s final news conference.

Alvarez, who has been highly criticized for not fighting middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, swears he’s taking Smith seriously.

“We know how dangerous and difficult Liam Smith will be,” Alvarez said. “We have not taken him lightly and we know he will come to fight on Saturday.”

Smith, of England, is 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts. Alvarez is 47-1-1 with 33 knockouts.

 

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Pay-per-view cost for Canelo-Liam Smith is $54.99, $64.99 for high definition

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

For those mulling over whether to purchase Saturday’s HBO pay-per-view feed for the junior middleweight title bout between champion Liam Smith and Canelo Alvarez, it won’t come cheaply.

We’re talking $54.99, $64.99 for high definition. Golden Boy Promotions will also offer the feed on live stream for $64.99. That address is www.goldenboyppv.com.

Alvarez, of Mexico, is 47-1-1 with 33 knockouts. Smith, of England, is 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts. They will tangle at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 

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High-energy trainer Dewey Cooper believes Jessie Vargas belongs in Nov. 5 fight against Manny Pacquiao

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

All one has to do is spend a couple of minutes with Dewey Cooper, and it’s obvious this is a trainer with emotional energy to burn. He speaks in electric, as well as confident, tones.

That was certainly the case when Cooper recently spoke about his fighter, welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, who Nov. 5 will defend his title against Manny Pacquiao
at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

This is only going to be Cooper’s second fight with Las Vegas’ Vargas. In their first, Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) won the vacant title with a ninth-round TKO of then-undefeated Sadam Ali in March in Washington D.C.

Winning that fight is likely a far cry from what Vargas will have to do to beat Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs). That’s not to mention this will by far be the biggest stage on which Vargas has performed. Some guys fall apart in that situation, others handle it well. Cooper believes the latter will be the case for Vargas.

“Psychologically, I pound the message to him every day that this event is not too big for us,” Cooper said. “We belong here. Everyone keeps saying Pacquiao chose Jessie. No, Pacquiao didn’t choose Jessie. Jessie won a world title on March 5 by knocking out an undefeated fighter, sensational fighter, and that is what put Jessie in the position to have a Manny Pacquiao fight.

“In other words, we earned every step of this. And we’re looking forward to a great opportunity.”

Cooper then suggested a changing of the guard is in order.

“We respect Manny, we love Manny,” Cooper said. “But at the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest, and it’s our time. Life is about transitions and this is definitely a transitional time in boxing and we want to be ahead of that pack.”

Pacquiao is 37 and likely won’t fight much longer.

Cooper is a former cruiserweight who went 19-3-3 with 11 knockouts fighting from 2001-12.

 

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Joseph Diaz Jr. close to title shot, so he must be on point against Andrew Cancio

Joseph Diaz Jr., seen in his pro debut against Vicente Alfaro in 2012, is 18-0 and fighting for a vacant regional featherweight title Friday in Indio. (Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)

Joseph Diaz Jr. decks Vicente Alfaro in August 2013. Diaz will take on Andrew Cancio on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte is getting close to a world-title fight, so he can’t afford to stumble. Diaz will take on Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs) of Blythe underneath Canelo AlvarezLiam Smith on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view). A victory over Cancio could be the final step – at the least, next-to-final-step – before Diaz gets his first major championship fight.

Diaz (21-0, 12 KOs) is really pumped.

“I am at 110 percent right now, and my confidence levels are through the roof,” he said. “I feel like no one can beat me. I feel like I’m at my best and come Saturday night I’m going to show the fans that I’ve got what it takes to be at the very top.”

Diaz is ranked as high as No. 3 by one governing body.

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Liam Smith says he’s ‘comfortable going toe-to-toe with Canelo’ on Saturday

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Liam Smith of England isn’t being given much of a chance to successfully defend his junior middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) of Mexico when
they square off Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

But Smith (23-0-1, 14 KOs) this week suggested he’s no Amir Khan, his countryman who was knocked out by Alvarez in the sixth round in May in Las Vegas.

“Despite my gym being owned by Amir Khan, I haven’t talked to him about the fight because what he can do well, I can do well,” Smith said. “And what Amir failed to do
in the ring, I will not fail to do. I have my own skill set that I can excel in.

“I’m comfortable going toe-to-toe with Canelo, and let that be a warning to him come Saturday.”

Khan moved and out-boxed Alvarez for five rounds, then Alvarez lowered the boom on him.

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Luis Del Valle expects to hand Diego De La Hoya his first loss on Saturday

Luis Del Valle/Photo courtesy of Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

 

Luis Del Valle is a prize-fighter from Puerto Rico, so he knows all about the boxing rivalry his homeland has with Mexico. He is far from being a hater, though.

“I love the Mexican community – they are the most humble and welcoming people,” Del Valle said Tuesday. “I remember when I visited Mexico for the first time, and I felt at home. While the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matches are always heated, I have a deep respect for the Mexican public.”
Del Valle (22-2, 16 KOs) on Saturday will take on Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) of Mexico in a 10-round super bantamweight bout. They will tangle underneath the junior middleweight title fight between champion Liam Smith of England and Canelo Alvarez of Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view). Del Valle is expecting to hand De La Hoya – cousin of Oscar De La Hoya – his first loss.
“”I am going to leave the ring with a victory under my belt on Sept. 17, without a doubt,” Del Valle said. “Not being the favorite doesn’t affect me at all. I have had many experiences in which things have not gone the way we anticipated. However, those setbacks have brought me to this stage I stand on now, and the opportunity to further my career. This is my destiny, and I’ll prove that this Saturday.”

 

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Trainer Joe Gallagher confident Liam Smith can give Canelo Alvarez grief

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Trainer Joe Gallagher thinks a lot of his fighter, Liam Smith, and Gallagher on Tuesday gave notice to the boxing world that Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will be able to give Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) all he wants when they square off Saturday for Smith’s junior middleweight world title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“We are full-heartily confident in what we have come to show the crowd,” Gallagher said. “Smith is a serious threat. Liam Smith can box from the outside, he’s a great counterpuncher, can fight from the inside, has great shots from the inside and has a great temperament. These are some of my favorite characteristics of Liam Smith. I think he might shock a lot of people in just how great he is come Saturday night.”

 

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Canelo Alvarez says he still feels best fighting in junior middleweight division

Canelo Alvarez, left, seems almost nonchalant as Amir Khan is counted out of their fight in May in Las Vegas/Photo by Associated Press

 

We all know how Canelo Alvarez called out Gennady Golovkin after Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in May in Las Vegas. We also know how Alvarez and his promoter – Oscar De La Hoya – backtracked.

They went from saying that yes, Alvarez will fight Golovkin at the full 160-pound middleweight limit this fall, to saying that Alvarez is not a middleweight and he won’t entertain fighting Golovkin until he is – maybe in the fall of 2017.

Alvarez, rather than fight Golovkin, gave up his middleweight belt and on Saturday will challenge Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England for his junior middleweight title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Alvarez this week explained his way of thinking regarding the junior middleweight (154 pounds) and middleweight divisions.

“For the last six years, my body has felt best and I have been strongest as a junior middleweight,” said Alvarez, who won the middleweight title with a decision over Miguel Cotto at a catch-weight of 155; Alvarez’s fight with Khan was also at 155. “I still feel that way today.”

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) said he at some point expects to move up to middleweight, where Golovkin holds three major belts and has knocked out his past 23 opponents.

“Do I think I will eventually move up to middleweight and perhaps beyond?” Alvarez said. “I do, when my body feels it’s time. My promoters and trainers have always told me that as you get into your late 20s and early 30s, your body continues to change and going up in weight become more natural. Having just turned 26, I will see how I feel as I grow older.

“For the time being, I will continue to campaign at junior middleweight and am looking forward to once again regaining the championship at that weight class.”

Alvarez held a junior middleweight title from March 2011, won another one in April 2013 and lost both to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013.

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